Inside the dilapidated remains of a Chosewood Park warehouse that, in the distant past, was home to the offices of the Yellow Cab Company of Atlanta, Willow Goldstein and Daniel DeSimone point toward a concrete riser emerging from the shadows. “This is where the stage will be for The Bakery’s new venue,” DeSimone says.
As he looks up, rays of sunlight catch clouds of dust, shining through a long gap where the wall and the ceiling don’t quite meet.
“Of course, there will be a build out,” he adds. “We’ll seal up the wall, and do quite a lot of work in this room.”
DeSimone is the venue manager for the Bakery, a multi-purpose DIY gallery and venue space that Goldstein launched with her mother Olive Hagemeier in the Fall of 2017. Over the years DeSimone has run sound for live shows, worked the door, and booked shows under his Face Of Knives Productions company, all while performing various other roles there.
When asked about her title, Goldstein ponders several possible descriptions before settling on “owner, operator, and creative director.”
She has final say in pretty much all aspects of the Bakery’s business, although she gives a lot of freedom to DeSimone and Amanda Norris, who handles much of their press and public relations. The Bakery also works with teams of volunteers.
Everyone involved wears many hats when it comes to the full-time endeavor of running the DIY institution that has hosted countless art openings, workshops, film screenings, dance parties, Southern Fried Queer Pride events, and live concerts. Guitarist Gyan Riley (son of minimalist composer Terry Riley) played there while supporting his 2018 album, Sprig. Guitarist Nels Cline of Wilco (performing in a free jazz trio with percussionist Gerald Cleaver and sax player Larry Ochs) played there.
Scores of younger indie rock, hip-hop, electronic, hardcore and post-punk acts including Upchuck, Misanthropic Aggression, and DeSimone’s blackened metal outfit Malevich also graced the stage there.
On June 30, 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was coming to a head, The Bakery’s three-year lease on the warehouse space at 825 Warner St. ended and was not renewed.
Soon after, the building was demolished, making way for a new Trees Atlanta facility.
Since then, the Bakery has carried on, settling into a gallery space at 92 Peachtree St., a block away from the Five Points MARTA station in South Downtown. There’s also the Bakery’s private artist studio spaces inside the BuggyWorks complex near downtown East Point.
The latest endeavor, though, is the multi-purpose venue at 249 Milton Ave., in a development that is tentatively being called Yellow Studios.
For now, the Bakery’s performance room is a 5,000 square-foot space filled with dozens of dust-covered office chairs, toppled empty filing cabinets, broken glass, and other bits of debris — remnants of what was once a thriving taxi cab headquarters, now in ruins. Still, the potential the space holds is undeniable.
Outside, the sounds of a chainsaw cutting through an old fence, the beeps of heavy machinery, and a chorus of hammers and nail guns hitting the roof fill the air.
Just down the road, more construction can be heard as towering condominiums are being constructed along the BeltLine.
Both Goldstein and DeSimone talk at length about partnering with fellow DIY arts venue Mammal Gallery co-founder Chris Yonker who found the location and is spearheading the project. Yonker plans to open a Morning Mouth Tattoo studio as well as a recording studio in the building. Mammal will also be promoting live performances and other events there. Kyle Swick of Irrelevant Music will book shows in the Bakery’s new venue. There’s talk of various other collaborations as well, including the possibility of working with their kindred spirit at Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, with whom Goldstein is a former board member.
There are also plans for a coffee shop, and a second, more intimate performance space, and other businesses will utilize office spaces elsewhere in the building.
The plan is to have the new space open and hosting live performances by Spring 2022.
“Ultimately, the goal is to bring the most professional level of production as possible to nontraditional events, non-traditional curators, and provide a space where people who want to challenge the status quo, or show what an event or a concert could be, have a space where feel like they can stretch out,” DeSimone says. “It’s a space for musicians who might not feel like they jive with the status quo of Atlanta’s music scene.”
DeSimone goes on to describe their vision for the room as being more than a bar, while keeping its activities art-focused, across disciplines.
“Intersectional artistry! We encourage people to incorporate non-musical components to their musical performances, or musical components to their non-musical events,” DeSimone adds. “Bring a DJ to your art show, bring an aerialist to your concert. If something’s happening at the Bakery, there is an understanding that it will be something more than what you could get somewhere else. We want to build our own niche while not chasing the tail of de rigueur — doors open at 8 p.m. and you’re out at 11 p.m. We can’t do that. We don’t want to do that. And the city doesn’t need another of that.”
Donate to The Bakery’s GoFundMe campaign.
This story originally appeared in the February issue of Record Plug Magazine.
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